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Re: Stratigraphy, biogeography & cladograms



Justin S Tweet wrote:

<I've heard the approach where specific and generic names are
abandoned and the specimen numbers (like USM 1180, or whatever) used
instead kicked around before, and I hope that doesn't happen, if only
for my memory.  It's a lot easier to me to remember *Triceratops
horridus* than all the catalog numbers assigned to animals once
designated *T. horridus*.  However, I don't know if that's correct.>

  I like Justin's and Mike's scenarios better than mine, makes more
sense and less fuddled.

  However, the snames would not neccesarily be dropped, for we would
still need easier names to identify the specimens than all those
specimen numbers. Those specimens exhibiting the most similarity to
each other would be given a name. GI 100/30 and GI 100/33 are then
called, oh, *Ingenia*. One is used as the comparative reference (GI
100/30) and the second to compare that too, and hence to others. This
name would be compared to other similarly constructed names, say
*Oviraptor*, and would thus gain a name. In this case, Oviraptoridae.
Not genus, not family. There is no quantifiable way to detirmine a
difference between the type species and genus of an individual,
barring a second species, so one name would be dropped ("yanshini" and
"philoceratops", comparatively). Then a new specimen is found that is
similar enough to GI 100/30 and not to *Oviraptor* (AMNH 6517) that it
would be included in *Ingenia*. And how would a second species by
defined?

Thus the only quantifiable groups here are:

GI 100/30--\ 1
           |---\
GI 100/33--/   |_2__
               |
AMNH 6517------/

  [numbers indicate nodes where
   similarity as opposed to
   dissimilarity is noted]

  Such a thing as a subspecies, like a species, are unquantifiable
unless there are a pair, to relate similarity or dissimilarity with,
so a single specimen uncomparable to a like one, cannot be named
because there's no proof it was a unique individual. Features might
assume such, but how can you _prove_ this, or quantify it?

  Notice I'm setting myself up for a fall, but so be it.... I am
curious, and not too certain of the above. By the way, how does one
keep from snapping one's neck when defining a genus, then a species,
then a specimen; upon all that, its refered to a family, infraorder,
superfamily, etc.? It's a bit odd to me. Notice I'm using Linnean
ranks, but only for reference to the -idae, -oidea pattern of names.

==
- Often, it is the man who is brought
  down the path to the end who does
  not see his own steps. -

Jaime A. Headden

Qilong, the website, at:
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